Roll credits on Mudgee's Regent as a theatre?

A development application to turn Mudgee’s Regent Theatre into a hotel is currently on exhibition at Mid-Western Regional Council.

The proposal is for the partial demolition of the existing building, retaining the facade, entry foyer and side walls.

To turn the site into an 84-room, five-storey hotel, with roof-top bar and function area over the first and second floors.

A 33-space carpark is proposed at the rear of the site connecting to Short Street, running parallel to Church Street, which will require the demolition of the house located at 33 Short Street.

In their overview, applicant Mod Urban Pty Ltd said, “the proposed new hotel use will meet the existing shortfall of accommodation within the surrounding region. The hotel and its ancillary uses, including function area and roof-top bar, will provide facilities that are currently in demand in Mudgee all within the one commercial space and which is capable of being used as a small or large function space”.

The art-deco building was opened in 1935 and last used as a theatre in 2009, but didn’t screen movies for several years prior to that.

The project would require an exemption to the development standard for maximum height of 8.5 metres for the new rear portion of the building.

The proposal is for a height of 16.282m, which is 7.7782m over and an increase of 91 per cent, but the case is made in the application that much of the existing building is already over the 8.5m.

The application states that the height is “appropriate for location”, mainly because a significant amount of the building is already approximately 15m high.

“[It will] generally retain this height and replace it with more appealing, articulated side boundary facades," the statement reads.

Also that the demolition of the 33 Short Street house and the addition of the carpark would create “a buffer”.

The plans show that the highest point will be the fifth-storey rooms, which would be located at the rear of the building with the roof-top bar in-between them and the front at Church Street.

A glass balustrade is proposed for in-between the bar and the facade.

In 2015, a development application was approved by Council to turn the Regent Theatre into a 34-unit apartment complex.

However, this was met with some resistance and the focus shifted to short-term accommodation.

The theatre stopped screening movies regularly in 2006.

With over 900-seats and only one screen, it’s not considered by many as being economically viable as a cinema anymore.

Pushes in recent years for Mid-Western Regional to purchase and reopen it as a movie theatre resulted in an investigation into the cost to do so.

They found that it would cost close to $5 million to upgrade the facility in 2012.

At the same time Mudgee’s Town Hall building – housing the library and theatre – was being renovated.

This included the addition of cinema equipment and in 2013 began screening two movies a month.

Anyone is invited to inspect the applications and plans at Council’s Administration Centre, 86 Market Street, Mudgee. Plans may also be made available at the administration centres in Gulgong (109 Herbert Street) and Rylstone (77 Louee Street) upon request. Written comments in respect of any application must be addressed to the General Manager and received prior to 4.30pm on Friday, November 17, 2017.